For the Good of Barack Obama, Mr. Rangel Should Step Aside

Or am I reading too much into the Washington Post editorial, “Step Aside, Mr. Rangel,” when it says: At a time when President-elect Barack Obama is holding frequent news conferences to reassure the markets and the American people that he is ready to lead the nation to economic recovery, the last thing he will need […]

Are We Keeping Gates’ Defense Budget?

Barack Obama’s apparent decision to retain Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense is popular in the Beltway. One thing pundits admire is Gates’ talk about sacrificing expensive weapons systems designed for peer competitors to pay for the counterinsurgency campaigns that we are fighting. What Gates’ fans don’t point out is he has done little more […]

Larry Summers on Employer Mandates

President-elect Barack Obama has named former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers to head his National Economic Council.  Obama also wants to require employers to offer health insurance to their workers. It is therefore instructive to recall what the head of Obama’s National Economic Council has written about employer mandates: Economists have generally devoted little attention to […]

Bailouts May Scare U.S. Economy to Death

A Pew Research poll conducted more than a week ago found that 57 percent of Americans are terrified by Bailout Mania 2008. That was several days, and many billions of dollars, before Bloomberg reported that U.S. taxpayers are now on the hook for $7.7 trillion in bailout bucks — half of the nation’s entire GDP […]

Google Flu Trends and Privacy

The recent privacy dust-up about Google’s Flu Trends service is interesting – and confounding. Flu Trends is one of many cool things that can be done with data. By tracking searches that suggest the existence of flu symptoms, Google can identify influenza outbreaks about two weeks faster than the Centers for Disease Control, as illustrated […]

What Exactly Does “Cost Neutral” Mean?

I won’t pretend to be the least bit able to keep track of who is getting bailed out how and at what price anymore. When we were talking about a nice, simple, $700-billion bailout of some type to someone, sure, that was easy to follow. But there’s practically a new proposal involving hundreds-of-billions of dollars […]

Pointless, Political, and Pork-filled

Greg Mankiw speculates on the best alliterative description of the stimulus package: Instead of fiscal stimulus that is temporary, targeted, and timely, John Taylor suggests that it be permanent, pervasive, and predictable. What the Obama administration is aiming for, it seems, is helpful, hopeful, and humongous. Critics fear it might end up pointless, political, and […]

The Constant Bailer II

The superintendent of the financially inept Miami-Dade Schools wants a federal bailout, and it’s hard to blame him for desiring a piece of Washington’s ever-bigger Ineptitude Rewards Programs. But, as I wrote a couple of months ago – and a professor echoes in the article about the Supt’s request — public schools are, essentially, constantly being bailed out. They live off of […]

I’ll Tell You What’s Tedious

Jonah Goldberg finds “conservative complaints about Barack Obama’s public-schools hypocrisy…all a bit tedious.” Well, aside from my not having actually seen many conservatives complaining about Obama choosing a private school for his kids while telling the rest of us to support public schools, I find arguments like Goldberg’s main one tedious. Very tedious. Like, we-should-just-keep-trying-to-force-excellence-out-of-socialism tedious. Here’s the meat of Goldberg’s […]

Is Hillary Clinton Unconstitutional?

So Hillary Clinton is “on track” to be the nation’s top diplomat, huh?  Well, setting aside the wisdom of that decision — forget ideology; does she have both foreign policy expertise and a good working relationship with the President-elect? — it appears that there may be genuine constitutional problems with her expected nomination.  To wit, Article […]